Friday we decided to head to Gulf Shores, AL to visit some friends from our Ohio Winnebago group. They are staying in the Gulf Shores State Park. This was a good chance to catch up on what they have been doing, since our paths have not crossed much in the last few years.
It was also a chance to revisit Gulf Shores. Anneke’s Aunt and Uncle regularly stayed in the Gulf Shores State Park during their RVing years. Since they came to Florida for our daughter’s wedding, they wanted to drive over to Gulf Shores and see what damage occurred when Hurricane Ivan passed over the area during the summer. They were truly shocked by the damage both to the city and the state park campground. At the time, we could not get very far into the campground as they were still cleaning up the mess.
On our return visit, we have found the state park restored and the campground better than ever, with new facilities and nearly 500 sites with full hookups. Our friends John and Verna were in a nice spot and plan to stay at least for a few more months. After touring the campground, we headed for town for lunch at one of the snowbird’s favorites. After enjoying our lunch and catching up, we went to town and were pleased to see how well the area has recovered. The landmark Souvenir City shop was back to its old self. The hurricane had placed five feet of water throughout the store nearly destroying it including the extra large shark out front. There are still some empty lots, but by in large things are looking pretty good.
We did take a few pictures during that visit back in Dec 2004 and are a stark contrast to the condition today.
After sitting in one spot for over a month, a certain pattern develops. In our case, this seems to be getting up at no particular time, taking care of the essentials, Anneke’s exercise class, maybe some WII exercise for me and giving the computers a workout. Then we make up a plan for the rest of the day. So when Carpenter RV in Pensacola called and said that the part for the Norcold recall had arrived and it would be great if we could get there by 8 AM today, our pattern was busted. Setting the alarm for 6 AM, we managed to get underway in time to make it the 50 miles or so to the dealer with time left over to top off the diesel tank at the station almost next door to the RV place. One of us had more problems than the others in adjusting to this new operating mode.
Carpenters also looked at the small water leak in our windshield. Winnebago is famous for these leaks and the difficulty in repairing them. Since ours is in the minor stage, we are trying a simple caulk repair. We will hope for the best.
After drinking all the free coffee we could handle, we were out of the facility at 0930. That was one of our shortest repair stops ever.
With some time in reserve, we decided to head to the Gulf Islands National Seashore. This area is a large expanse of beach covered with the famous emerald sand of Northwest Florida. We enjoyed an almost deserted beach along with lunch and a great view of the Gulf of Mexico. Only Halley was prohibited from walking the beach, but since she is scared of the water, this was not a major disappointment.
The last few days have been busy with family fun. Our youngest daughter, Katie, has returned from her deployment in the Middle East and has been able to travel to NW Florida to spend some time with us. She and her boyfriend Dain are staying in a penthouse condo on Navarre Beach, so we have been spending a lot of time there enjoying the views.
We are doing the usual family things, food, games, catching up and just having fun. Katie brought the many birthday cards that friends across the country and overseas sent her while she was deployed. These were very much appreciated by her and we all enjoyed looking at them again. It was so nice that so many people took the time to do this.
The games were lively and produced a lot of laughs. Katie brought some gifts from the region, which was enjoyed by all. Sunday morning Anneke made traditional Dutch pancakes and bacon.(pannekoeken en spek)
Tomorrow, they will be heading home to Colorado. We will be looking at some motorhome maintenance items and a possible trip to Gulf Shores, Al to visit with some friends.